Sunday, June 26, 2011

DOD/Army Leadership Steps out on Operational Energy: The Lab Is Open

Since the demise of the Power Surety Task Force, the Army has not had an agency focused on evaluating and deploying operational energy technology. Deficiency resolved, apparently.

This past week, Sharon Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense, Operational Energy Plans and Programs and Katherine Hammack, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment oversaw the opening of the Army’s new Base Camp Systems Integration Lab (SIL) at Fort Devens, MA.

The SIL is under the direction of the Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support. It is composed of two, 150 person base camps, one configured for current capabilities and one to assess new technologies.

“Instrumentation on the SIL will measure water, fuel and power usage to help increase energy efficiency and base camp commonality.” The decision for the 150 person size is related to the “Force Provider” base camp in a box. Actually, it fits nicely in a single C-17, not a box.

This is a great way to get at the operational needs surrounding energy. The two sites will allow the evaluation of off the shelf technologies AND the development of next generation tech. The Force Provider is intend to be emplaced rapidly (four hours), support 150 people indefinitely and then go back into the box for use elsewhere. If the SIL focuses on just Force Provider requirements, it will miss the huge energy sinks that are the follow-ons to the expeditionary life support provided by FP, the more enduring Forward Operating Bases. We hope the lessons from the SIL will inform the contracting process that supports these Forward Operating Bases. I am sure they thought of that, but if it has not come up, here is another tidbit from NPR that helps crystallize the challenge. Dan Nolan


joostallard said...

Dan, very interesting to see DOD take its first steps into figuring out energy footprints of its bases and other operational assets and processes.

DOD definitely needs a better way to manage our its energy use all along the deployment chain as you correctly state. The (human) cost of not improving performance in this sense is just too great.

The company I am involved with is creating breakthrough solutions that fit squarely into the SIL test and we would love to demonstrate our prototype to DOD. Any suggestions on how to get involved?

Dan Nolan said...

Please contact me directly at and lets see if we can help.